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George Kliavkoff
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George Kliavkoff Officially Takes Over As Pac-12 Commissioner

MGM Resorts International President of Entertainment and Sports George Kliavkoff (C) presents head coach Tad Boyle of the Colorado Buffaloes and his team with the championship belt after their 71-67 victory over the Clemson Tigers to win the MGM Resorts Main Event basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on November 26, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – It’s the beginning of a new era for the Pac-12 Conference as George Kliavkoff officially takes over as the new commissioner.

Larry Scott’s tenure as commissioner ended on July 1 with George Kliavkoff officially taking over the position for the Pac-12.

“If the Pac-12 is to be successful in fulfilling this mission, it will require a continuous and transparent dialogue with you, our student-athletes, and an ability to take on the valuable ideas and feedback you provide,” Kliavkoff wrote in an open letter to Pac-12 student-athletes. “It will also require the full commitment of my team and me to live our mission every single day.”

“I also pledge that the decisions we make at the Conference level that affect you and your teammates will be driven by your input, which I am very eager to hear,” Kliavkoff added. “I plan to spend a lot of time at all of our campuses with student-athletes to understand your goals, your concerns and your viewpoints, which I will incorporate into our Pac-12 strategies and actions.”

The Pac-12 announced the hiring of Kliavkoff on May 13, leaving his position as president of MGM. Kliavkoff ended his job with MGM on June 4 and started getting to work on his new position on June 5.

The new commissioner met with the 12 Athletic Directors in the conference on June 16 and discussed many things, including the number of conference football games per season and possibly reduce the number from nine to eight. This would allow the Pac-12 to be more competitive and put themselves in better position for the 12-team College Football Playoff.

One of the other big tasks for Kliavkoff in the coming year is the media rights deal that will expire in 2022. Kliavkoff spoke about that extensively in his introductory press conference on May 13.

“I think media rights is just one of the big opportunities in front of us, I think we have several years to figure it out,” Kliavkoff mentioned. “But I think one of the first things is to determine when to start those renegotiations. With respect to the Pac-12 Network, I believe it’s part of the future of our media distribution strategy. Today, the Pac-12 Network has far fewer subscribers than any other comparable network and we have to fix that. I think there’s a way to fix that through structuring and relationships. But we have to get the Pac-12 Network distributed every place on every platform that our fans want to be able to consume that content. I also think about the media rights in the Pac-12 Network as being a small slice of the media rights that we can create and distribute. There are some very obvious and perhaps not so obvious ideas to optimize the revenue from distribution of our content and slicing and dicing that content. It’s candidly what I’ve done it many of my previous roles with great success. But just to be clear, I’m not going to get into those ideas before doing the work to validate.”

His background in television and entertainment will be crucial to negotiations. One of the things that Kliavkoff feels he can have an impact on is making football and men’s basketball more competitive.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASportsYou can download and listen to the podcast, here.

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